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Bruins in Paris

Chancellor Gene Block announces Office of Campus Safety

Masked individuals forcefully pull away a barrier protecting the Palestine solidarity encampment Tuesday night. Chancellor Gene Block announced Sunday that a new Office of Campus Safety will oversee UCPD, shifting the management away from Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck. (Zoraiz Irshad/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Catherine Hamilton

May 5, 2024 12:50 p.m.

This post was updated May 5 at 10:57 p.m.

For the Daily Bruin’s full coverage on the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA encampment, see here.

Chancellor Gene Block announced Sunday that the university has created a new Office of Campus Safety, which will manage UCPD and the Office of Emergency Management.

The change moves the oversight of UCPD and campus safety operations away from the office of Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck to the new office. The university and UCPD are under fire for their lack of response to Tuesday’s attack on the Palestine solidarity encampment, where law enforcement did not arrive on the scene until hours later, as well as for their forceful sweeping of the encampment the following night.

Block released another statement Monday reaffirming UCLA administration’s commitment to investigating April 30’s violent attack on the encampment by counter-protesters. 

“A group of instigators came to Royce Quad and violently attacked students, faculty and staff members who were encamped to advocate for Palestinian rights,” Block said in the statement. “This was a truly despicable act.”

The Office of Campus Safety will be led by inaugural Associate Vice Chancellor Rick Braziel, who has worked in public safety for more than 30 years, according to the email announcement. He served as the chief of police for the Sacramento Police department from 2008 to 2012 and has been an instructor at California State University, Humboldt since 2000.

In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Braziel to the Advisory Council on Improving Interactions between People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Law Enforcement. Additionally, in the summer of 2022, Braziel was one of nine individuals chosen by the United States Department of Justice to investigate the law enforcement response to a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two instructors dead.

In August 2018, the Sacramento sheriff said he barred Braziel’s access to the department following his release of a 27-page report related to a fatal shooting at the hands of a Sacramento deputy, according to the Sacramento Bee. The sheriff alleged that the former chief of police was motivated by political factors, but Braziel denied the claims and stood by the findings of his report.

Braziel has also been involved in investigations related to the police management of a protest in Springfield, Oregon, the San Bernardino terrorist attack and the Pulse Nightclub attack in Florida

Braziel will also partner with an advisory team.

In a campuswide email Sunday, Block said the organizational change was necessary to ensure safety of all on campus.

“In the past week, our campus has been shaken by events that have disturbed this sense of safety and strained trust within our community. In light of this, both UCLA and the UC Office of the President have committed to a thorough investigation of our security processes,” Block said in the email. “But one thing is already clear: To best protect our community moving forward, urgent changes are needed in how we administer safety operations.”

Block said the events of the past week convinced him of the need for an office with the sole responsibility of campus safety, adding that this organizational structure has worked at other universities.

Block said in his Monday statement that Braziel will lead an investigation in conjunction with UCPD, a singular LAPD detective, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office and potentially the FBI. The statement also urged individuals to report any information about the attack immediately.

“The well-being of our students, faculty and staff is paramount,” Block said in the email. “These actions are essential for creating a secure environment where everyone at UCLA can confidently pursue their studies and careers.”

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Catherine Hamilton
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
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